Rightwing rivals both declare victory as battle to succeed Sarkozy turns nasty
Source: the guardian
The vote for a new leader of Nicolas Sarkozy's rightwing UMP party turned into a shambles on Sunday night after both candidates declared themselves the winner amid a vicious public slanging match over dodgy ballots, trickery and fraud.
In the worst party political mayhem in recent French memory – even more savage than the famous in-fighting in the Socialist party – the right was left in paralysis as the different teams of the two self-declared leaders tore into each other on live TV. French media described the electoral chaos as "surreal".
More than 50% of the 300,000 members of the UMP party turned out to vote for a new leader on Sunday following Sarkozy's defeat in the presidential election in May.
During a long and bitter election campaign, Jean-Francois Copé, 48, a tough-talking hardliner, had played to the far-right audiences, saying that French city suburbs brimmed with "anti-white" racism and that the right must take to the streets to oppose the Socialist president, François Hollande.